How Long Does It Take to Get a Mortgage Loan Approved?

by Faith O ; Updated September 11, 2017

The mortgage loan application and approval process requires a number of steps, which can typically be completed in one to two months, with the exception of those borrowers who have some extenuating credit, income or other financial circumstances. The process starts with a preapproval application, followed by an actual mortgage application, usually after you have identified the property you want to purchase. Precisely how long it takes depends on a particular bank’s or mortgage company’s processes, what type of loan you are applying for and how promptly you submit required documents.

Mortgage Preapproval

The first step in applying for a mortgage is to go through a preapproval application. This simply means that a loan officer at a bank or mortgage company will collect your personal information, such as name, address and Social Security number to perform a preliminary credit check to see if you meet the basic requirements for the loan you are seeking. Your credit score and debt-to-income ratio are often used as quick qualifying measures. If you meet these requirements, you may be preapproved for a loan up to a maximum amount. Your preapproval will be good for a set period, usually 90 days. You still will be required to produce further documentation before the preapproval becomes an approval for a loan.

Loan Application and Purchase of Property

Once you have been preapproved and received a preapproval letter, then you can start shopping for a home that is not more expensive than the maximum amount for which you were approved. Also, presenting a preapproval letter to your prospective seller will indicate that you are a serious buyer. Once you have located a property you would like to purchase and have negotiated an acceptable purchase price, you are ready to sign a purchase contract. You will then return this signed contract to the loan officer at your bank along with income documentation and a completed loan application. The bank will order an appraisal to make sure that you are buying a good value and a decision will be made on your application based on your complete financial picture. You should be ready to close on your chosen property between one and six weeks after you hand your loan officer a signed contract and all required documents.

About the Author

Faith O has covered politics and general news in Washington DC, Chicago and Maryland. Her writing has appeared in the Associated Press, Prince George's Sentinel, Northwest Indiana Times, Chicago Defender and Daily Southtown, among others. She has a Masters of Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School and a Bachelor's degree from Hampshire College in Amherst.